Neurodiversity as a superpower?

I always loved the idea of the listening project and of course took part in it myself with the lovely Kate. The editors enjoyed the last part of conversation, which we still haven’t actually gone through with yet?

It was Kate who included me in this tweet about Leanne and Eloise talking about dyslexia as a superpower. Something I’m fully behind being dyslexic and living in a world of the neurotypical.

The Dyslexic advantage is quite something, along with the videos; in this regards. I remember Malcolm Gladwell getting a lot of attention for saying something similar in his book David and Goliath. Desirable difficulty, I believe were the words.

It’s slightly ironic, when reading about the sperm donation place which was turning away dyslexic men. I’ve also been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of telling young children about their superpower. Can this be a good or bad thing? It’s really hard to say, especially because I don’t have kids, so have no skin (as such) in the game. But of course it doesn’t stop me from chipping in with something anyway.

I was talking with a colleague recently and we were talking about the joy of seeing neurodiverse people doing what comes naturally, instead of trying to fit in with the neurotypical view. For example, I write as I talk, this isn’t the way you write… lots of people tell me. So I tried to adopt this, but in the end gave up knowing it simply was not the way which works for me. I am obviously a lot happier because of this but I’m still waiting for the technology to catch up.

Street art in Manchester's Northern Quarter

The colleague is a very visual thinker and prefers to communicate in pictures. One of the many great things I seen is this person writing emails using gifs and very little text. Its sounds nuts but it works so well and I’ve started wondering why this doesn’t happen more often? I mean Emjoi’s are becoming more common place, I seen Gif usage increasing in spaces which support them like Instant messaging, Twitter, Slack, etc. I even have a task to install a few apps so I can create my own.

Media which expands human communication and curiosity?

Superpower or magic

How about that for a superpower?!

5 years ago… my BBC colleagues wrote

@jas's picture of Herbkim

In my last post I wanted to include this picture of Herb Kim talking about me at Thinking Digital 2010. Still not heard what he actually said (could have been slagging me off or something *joke*) but I’m thankful for what he did do, as I was due to close down BBC Backstage on stage.

It of course never happened till much later of course.

Looking at the work/BBC angle was quite interesting. I have always said my work, personal and play lives are intermixed, and I like/prefer it that way. What happened while I was gaining consciousness says it all…

I saw this blog a long while later after I came out of hospital. I hadn’t realised the open and close battle (best word I can think of) which was kind of happening.

My parents once they received the call from Adrian came straight up to be with me. But my dad kept returning to Bristol for a house move was being finalised. So my mum reached out to Sarah (ex-wife) who recently moved near Manchester. She helped setup the carringbridge site after using it with her brother when he had fallen off something in 2009. Sarah was so supportive and contacted all of my old friends she still had emails for to tell them what had happened.

While this was happening Adrian, Tim and others were trying to keep things quiet by only telling people that needed to know. To be fair I would have done the same and they had no idea about Sarah and my mum spreading the word. The hodge also setup a form to collect responses from friends which was lovely and I thank him for doing so…

but this was trumped by the Carringbridge site Sarah and my parents setup.

I gather looking at the Twitter responses, there was a lot of wonder and doubt about what had happened. With information circulating from my mum and Sarah. I guess it became clear that the BBC needed to say something more official than tweets. I gather this isn’t normal but hey nothing about me and what happened is business as usual.

Adrian/Ant wrote…

This is just to let you know that unfortunately Ian Forrester, Senior Development Producer of BBC Backstage was taken ill last week and is now recuperating in Hope Hospital in Salford.

At the moment he is in a serious but stable condition and is being well cared for by the staff at Hope and his family.

For those who want to pass on their messages the Message for Ian Google form is here.

[Edit 04/06/10] Now that Ian’s family have set up the Caring Bridge site we’re recommending that people wanting to drop him a line use that channel instead.

Flowers aren’t allowed in ICU, but cards are, and can be sent to:

Ian Forrester
c/o Intensive Care Unit
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Stott Avenue
Salford
M6 8HD

We will keep you updated when we hear anything more but until then we hope that you can have Ian in your thoughts and let his other close friends know.

Dr Adrian Woolard

[In Ian’s hopefully short absence I’ll be looking after this blog- Ant Miller]

Japanese way

+Tokyo

Angie, was asking me about Japan and I made a comment that it was going to be very different. She asked me about how I feel it would be different from where I have been before.

I promised to do a blog post about my thoughts before and afterwards. So take this one as my before…

Bear in mind I have spent most of my life in the west, having only gone as far east as Stockholm, Sweden up till 3 years ago. Recently I went to Istanbul, Turkey (that didn’t turn out so well), so I have no experience beyond the middle east. However I have been a consumer of Japanese culture in multiple forms. Manga, Technology, Toys, etc…

Its would be fair to say Japanese culture is quite different. I am expecting a Tokyo to be thriving metropolis like the time I spent in New York, London, Chicago and Toronto. Theres going to be a lot of people around, like a silly amount of people. I’m expecting most people to be shorter than the average in New York and London. I’m also expecting some funny looks as people wonder why I’m there. Not in a hateful way, just a curious way.

I heard conflicting reports about the amount of English which is spoken, so I am preparing myself for little to no verbal communication which is going to be hard when telling people I may die if I eat fish, seafood, etc.

My thoughts on Japanese culture isn’t based on the media alone. When I got divorced, I shared the house with a Japanese lady who was wonderful. I lost contact with her when I moved to Manchester but we did talk about Japan and even she said dont go because you will die. We also talked about the school girl thing (which I find very weird and creepy) and the strict social hierarchy’s which are being overthrown.

Like most countries the capital isnt much like the rest of the country but I know Angie wanted my stereotypes not this wishy washy overview. So here you go…

  • I’m expecting to face a few delicate situations about race.
  • I’m expecting to get lost a few times and not really have help getting back
  • I’m expecting my size (height and weight) to cause at least one problem
  • I’m expecting at least one person to touch my hair or poke me in some way.
  • I’m expecting at least one allergic reaction and the chaos which will come from not being able to commutate what’s happened.
  • I’m expecting to end up with no cash sometime and being slightly stuck.

I’ll do a after review once I’m back…

The romance contraceptive?

DSC_0576

Been reading up lots of stuff about dating and social media recently

One of the most interesting ones has to be this entry from David Wygant a dating and relationship coach and writes for the New York Times.

Social media is what I’d call a romance contraceptive. It prevents romance from happening every single day.

Every day when I’m out and about, I’ll see people in elevators, I’ll see people in grocery stores, coffee shops, and at restaurants. And they’re all checking Facebook! Or they’re tweeting something to their 3.7 followers. We’ve become a society of people who are obsessed with what’s happening in the imaginary world.

Just the other day, I was in a supermarket in Los Angeles and I saw this guy checking out this girl. He was standing next to her in line at the juice bar. He kept looking at her, and she kept looking down … at the Facebook app on her iPhone.

Now, I know some of you right now are thinking, maybe she wasn’t interested. That wasn’t the issue. Because what I’m about to share with you is something most of you have probably done.

He gave up and disappeared. But I was crazy curious so I stood next to her in line and got real close and peeked at what she was typing into her phone.

Her status update: When am I going to meet a nice guy? It seems like all the good men are taken.

Think about what just happened.

She complained about not finding good men, but here was an interested man, standing next to her. Now, granted, nobody knows if the romance would have worked, but think about this: for every moment that you’re checking your Twitter feed, or your so-called friends’ updates on Facebook, you’re missing another opportunity to connect with somebody in real life … which could be another opportunity to fall in love.

I agree to a certain extend. I already gave a 5min presentation to urging people to do more in real life. Don’t get me wrong, I also sometimes say “I got to tweet this…” but generally I’m not attached to my phone like some people I know.

We are in a world of flux right now, for some people mobile internet access is a good thing and for others its certainly not. Do you blame the technology or the person? I would say its the person.

Playing with Twitter, but I’m not all that happy yet

Twitter screenshot

After hearing Ryan Freitas talk about Twitter among other things, I've been trying out it out. If you don't know what Twitter is, check out Derek Powazek's description.

Twitter lets me SMS to a group all at once and creates a handy 'what I'm up to right now' insert for my site. A kind of in-situ, realtime, status message blogging. Fun!

So yeah its a good way to send short timely messages to a pool/group of friends. Those messages can be text messages (sms) or even im using jabber. It sounds really good but it has problems. Tantek posted up shots of ways to improve the pretty poor signup process. But I've been having problems registering my work mobile phone which is on O2 with Twitter. What also bugs me is the fact you can only register one mobile number. Yes I know its rare people have more that one mobile, but those who would use Twitter are much more likely to have 2 phones or 2 lines. My other issue is around adding your friends. Please please, allow me to add either my flickr network, upcoming network (why flickr and upcoming don't interop, is still beyond me), Plaxo contacts or even a Foaf file. I just can't be bothered to setup another network of friends in Twitter.

I do see the use of Twitter, specially for setting up adhoc geekdinners and getting people organised. But I would prefer to see Twitter used as an output point for messages. So I could send messages to it from almost any application or service and it would amplfy it to a certain group. Maybe it can do this already, it has an API so its certainly possible.

My username on Twitter is cubicgarden under the name of ian forrester, as you'd expect.

David Czarnecki has wrote a Twitter Plugin for Blojsom 3.0. Its currently in CVS but it will update twitter when there is an update or new entry to a blojsom blog. Damm I need upgrade to blojsom 3.0.

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